Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4: We'll start with what isn't in the Irving news.

For some reason, our news media have had little to say about Israel. So try the site below. It's from Haaretz, an Israeli paper, and one of the few intelligent and honest news media that are available in English

As I read this, I thought of friends who live much of the year in Israel. When they returned to Canada, I asked them whether they had enjoyed their time in Israel. The response was "Have you ever lived in a war zone?"

That, and economic problems, are what drive Israelis out of Israel. Today, some 20% of all Israelis have left Israel to live elsewhere. For all its military power and its financial support from the US, Israel is disappearing. And that is entirely the fault of Israeli governments.

They have made enemies all over the world by their treatment of Palestinians, including those Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. And it has made itself a threat to most countries in its region.  If any country needed to be at peace, it was Israel with its population of only five million. Instead, most of the Israeli leaders have chosen to be bullies.

At present, the Israeli armed forces are unbeatable - not only in conventional war, but with their regional monopoly on nuclear weapons. (That monopoly is weakening though. Israel has, for a good decade, been which reach of nuclear rockets from Muslim  Pakistan. That country has no interest in attacking Israel. But alliances are very uncertain things in this world.)

Israel needs good relations with the world. Instead, it has relied on power. Some of that is understandable. If it settles for a one-state solution by uniting Israel and Palestine, then Jews will be a minority within a generation. And that's not counting the trend among Jews around the world to marry outside their faith. (In my youth, that was almost unheard of, as many a Jewish date reminded me.)

If it agrees to a two-state solution, that would certainly require giving up some of its illegal settlements to Palestine, and making numbers of holy sites in Jerusalem open to Muslims. As well, Israel would have to give up its policy of maintaining Palestine as a sort of huge, outdoor prison. No Israeli government has shown interest in that.

So what happens in that case? Well, due to birth rates, Israel still faces a Muslim majority within Israel in a generation or so. And US support for Israel, including among American Jews, is  waning.

Israel, perhaps more than any country on the earth, needs peace with its neighbours. But it has placed all its chips on a military strength which almost certainly cannot be maintained.

Then there are the stories of Canadian mining companies in Congo. Canadian and other mining companies have been raping Congo for what will soon be a hundred and fifty years. Environmental regulations are virtually non-existent. Children begin work at age five. Pay is minimal. Benefits are zero. Anyone who objects gets beaten and/or killed. When a widespread revolt developed, four or five million (at least, but who's counting) Congolese were killed.

A prominent Canadian with large holdings in these mining hells is Brian Mulroney. Another good ol' boy in the business is George Bush.

It's also worth taking a look at google for Canadian Mining in Latin America and the Caribbean. There are lots of entries about staggering levels of pollution, permanent destruction of land, short life expectancies, widespread poverty. (So much for the myth that if we make the rich really, really rich then all that wealth will trickle down to us. It doesn't work that way.  It never has.)

People who complain about what's happening get killed. And if a lot of people complain, then a lot of people get killed - as in Guatemala. And Canadian mines are very prominent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Canadian government sends aid, of course. It's commonly tied to sweetheart deals for the Canadian mining companies. It's also used to destabilize the increasing number of countries in the region that are objecting to our behaviour.

Then there's the site below on the Greek crisis. It's in French, but not a difficult read   for anyone with a basic knowledge of the language. It was sent to me by a reader. I don't know the site - so I can't vouch for it.

Then there's the Times and Transcript.

The only story worth reading is "Judge orders Moncton lawyer's DUI DR car licence plates removed".

The proud owner of that licence plate is a lawyer who specializes is helping people charged with drunk driving. I suppose  he thought it was funny. But I have trouble with a lawyer who finds humour in drunk driving - and a certain personal distaste for one who has devoted his professional life to helping drunk drivers avoid penalties.

The Albert County Museum is hosting a 145th  birthday party for R.B.Bennett, the only New Brunswicker to become a prime minister of Canada. He was born at Hopewell Cape, became very wealthy - but one of the very few wealthy ever to genuinely care about people who were not wealthy.
It was his misfortune to come to power as the depression hit. He didn't cause it. But he's suffered the blame. It was made worse by his personal appearance of being arrogant. (and it wasn't just an appearance. He was arrogant.)

But he never forgot his roost in Hopewell Cape, and he never lost his sense of responsibility to  help those who were suffering in the depression. In fact, he laid the groundwork for recovery - but it was too late to save him politically.

No doubt the provincial and federal conservatives will put in some appearance to recognize Beaverbrook. That's too bad because they have shown none of Max Aitken's compassion or   intelligence.
The editorialist continues at his early kindergarten level of thought. Again,  it's  about moving the private sector into our health care system. That makes it official. The big push is on to privatize health care. The final paragraph makes that clear.

John McGarry, an accountant who some half-wit figured was the ideal one to run a  health care system is already looking at privatizing physiotherapists, audiology and dietetics. R.B.Bennet was a man who could see what was there, and what should be there to help people. All John McGarry can see is what will make money for the rich.

You don't save money by privatizing health care. To understand that, just drive over the border, and get seriously ill (or even just need a bandaid. The American health system is private. It is not cheap. It is not efficient. It is, arguably, the worst health system in the developed world. And it will take something more than some twit of an accountant to convince me otherwise.

Privatization will cost more and will cause more suffering and earlier death. Tiny, poor Cuba, pressed down by trade sanctions, can afford a far, far better health system than the privatized US has. And it can afford education for all - and in an education system that is higher ranked than that of the US. Why are we copying the world's least efficient and most expensive model in which people die younger, and in which millions can get nothing at all?

Well, we're doing  because the rich are greedy. And that, as even  John McGarry and the editorial writer must know, is what this is all about. And that's what the Irving press is all about. Wake up, New Brunswick. You have to get rid of these people - all of them.

Norbert has a well-written column about the controversy over the Confederate flag. And I can certainly agree with it.    But....but....but....

Many Canadians are proud of the Union Jack. I'm not. That's a flag that people saluted as troops were sent off to murder and enslave people all over the world to make a tiny minority of English people rich. A recent letter to the editor referred to that period as glorious and praised the symbol of it -- Queen Victoria.

In fact, Victoria was a self-obsessed and utterly spoiled rotten woman who did nothing whatever for anybody except herself. And this at a time when most British lived in squalor.  The only people but herself she ever cared for was her husband, Albert and, after his death, a drunken and foul-mouthed Scottish servant and her Indian secretary. For most of her reign, she never even appeared in public.
And the glory consisted of mass murder, theft of land, looting, imposing drug use, spreading hunger and even starvation, slavery.

I don't think of glory when I see a Union Jack. Nor, for the same reason, do I think of glory when I see a flag of France or of the United States. Nor do I get an urge to salute when I see a Canadian flag - not since we began acting as a US bumboy in sending troops to Afghanistan, Ukraine, and bombing Libya and now Syria and Iraq.

We praised Germans who stood up to Hitler and his Swastika. So why don't we stand up to the Harpers of this world who use our flag to cover greed, killing, and exploitation? Someone once said, "My country, right or wrong. But my country." And that's just dumb because it often means supporting acts that are murderous and quite immoral.

In fact, once could use the patriotic saying above as a justification for white southerners to fly the Confederate flag.

Brent Mazerolle discusses the same topic arguing that the murder of nine blacks in a church and says "in south Carolina the cross is poised to overwhelm a flag." Uh, Brent, in South Carolina the churches supported the  confederacy. And after that, they supported the bigotry and bias that has since gone on.
The churches supported the mass murder of Vietnamese and Iraqis. Few churches have said a word about the looting and murder and suffering we impose through institutions like mining companies.

It's a little early to lead cheers for Christianity.

Bill Belliveau writes about Greece - a situation he doesn't understand. And relates it to the New Brunswick debt - which he also doesn't understand. Gwynne Dyer writes on the same topic, though rather tamely. I notice he doesn't mention the role of the Greek government in lavishly spending money on armaments in a notoriously corrupt atmosphere. Nor does he look much at the political factors in the Greek crisis.

This looks like a column selected by the Irving boss to make people think that there is a connection between the Greek economic problem and the New Brunswick one.
B8 also has a story on the Greek economic crisis and, like almost everything I have read, it looks at the crisis as simply economic, and all the fault of the Greeks. Let's whoa back a bit.

1. The crisis is not simply economic. It's also about people. And most of what I've read - both about Greece and New Brunswick - never mentions people.It's all economics and statistics. R.B.Bennett was a man who saw people in such a crisis, not just bank figures.

2.And it's not all the fault of the Greek people. International bankers are grown boys. They're supposed to know when lending money is a bad idea. In the US, bankers encouraged a housing boom with very cheap mortgages. They should have known   (and I'm sure they did) that this would cause a crash as the market overheated. But they kept lending anyway - and that was a major factor in  causing the crash we call the recession. It happened because bank regulations that should have been there weren't, and those that were in place were ignored.

The responsible people should have faced courts and, perhaps, long sentences. Instead, they got free bailouts paid for by the people they had hurt.

A real newspaper would find out who regulated (or was supposed to regulate) those banks that loaned money to Greece.

And all the attention is put on the current pm of Greece. But he's not the one that created that debt. Who are the ones who did it? Did they have bank connections? And exactly how did they create that debt? We can't just toss the blame on all the Greek people.

On B1, we learn that the recent scandal about talks at Larry's Gulch were about privatization of liquor sales. Well, if that's true, why were two editors of the Irving press in attendance?  This smells like a very buddy-buddy relationship for journalists to be involved with politicians and big business. Was the newspaper chain ignorant of their attendance? (I would find that difficult to believe.)

Has this sort of thing happened before? Does the newspaper have a policy on it?

Why hasn't the newspaper had a story on its role in this affair? Surely, it's not hard. They just have to interview each other. Oh, and then print the truth. That would be the hard part.

B1 also has the story that a US court has found Omar Khadr guilty of killing one American soldier and partly blinding another with a grenade - and has fined him $134 million dollars. American justice at its finest.

1. Khadr was legally a child at the time.
2. All the evidence comes from a military trial. Military trials are notorious for their lack of fairness.
3. Khadr says he pleaded guilty because it was the only way to get out of Guantanamo (which, incidentally, was illegally holding and torturing prisoners).
4. And what were the American soldiers doing at the time? Praying? Quilting? No. They were shooting at, among others, Khadr. And there's a big question about the legality of US soldiers being there at all.
5. Will Harper protect Khadr as he is supposed to protect all Canadians? No. Harper would betray us all for the right price. But, for the time, Khadr is safe in Canada.

B6 has the story that Canadian intelligence services have commonly   given information about people  to US and other services so long as those other services promise not to torture them. Of course, they get tortured. This is really old stuff. We've been turning people over for torture for many years. There are records of Canadian officials being present as the torture was going on - and taking part in the questioning.

"The true north strong and free."

On C3, there is a good sign that New Brunswick is alive. The Youth Orchestra of the Americas  is in residence here for two weeks. On Friday, July 10, it will perform on Main St. at 2 p.m. On July 16 at 7 p.m. it will perform at Brinton Auditorium at Crandall University. And it's free - though it will accept voluntary contributions at the July 16 performance. I look forward to both performances.

Then there's the embarrassing Faith Page which has its usual gospel according to Walt Disney. Don't even think about the suffering we help to impose on this world. Don't think about the greed that leaves hundreds of millions to live in constant hunger, and with no homes. That has nothing to do with you. All you have to do is believe. That's it. Just believe. And, if you believe you'll go to heaven when you die - and all those refugees won't. So you won't have to think any more about them or how we helped to make them poor. Just believe, and you'll be in heaven with God.

Don't ever play poker with Him though. He sees all, knows all. So He can tell what you're holding.

Or, if you're the kind of person who wants to be in heaven right now and without dying, I suggest the Royal tea to be held by the ACW in Dorchester. It will be all about the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second and Princess Charlotte. The theme colour is pink.

Oh, I could die. I could just die.

And if that sounds too intellectually demanding, hit the road for the Irving Chapel with 'special' music. (I hate churches that just have ordinary music; don't you? ) Of course, then you get stuck for coffee in the barn with the kind of people who go to the Irving Chapel.

No, skip all that. Go to St Paul's United Church  in Riverview on Sept. 26. They'll be celebrating the history of Canadian Girls in Training, perhaps the best youth movement ever - and it was invented here in Canada.                                        

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